Pioli on why the win vs. Inter changes nothing and what Ibrahimovic told him on his first day

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has claimed that Saturday’s win over city rivals Inter does ‘not change anything’ in the grand scheme of things.

Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season with a 2-1 win over Inter at San Siro on Saturday. All the action would be in the first half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in the opening 16 minutes, the first a penalty converted at the second attempt.

However, Romelu Lukaku’s goal made it 2-1 before the break and there were visions of last season’s capitulation, but in the end that would be the last goal.

The result means Milan are top of the Serie A table with the only other ‘perfect’ side in Atalanta being thumped by Napoli earlier in the day.

Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia after the game and began with a reflection on the win, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews.

“I already said yesterday that today’s result would not change anything. We are satisfied, we beat a great team, we were good at suffering, an important victory for our fantastic fans. They escorted us to the stadium. our path is still long, there are still many things that we can improve,” he said.

On Ibrahimovic: “He was very tired, he also asked me to come off but I didn’t listen to him. His character contribution is fundamental, we are on track, we are growing.”

On the fact he could have left the club had Rangnick been appointed: “Those who think too much about the past don’t enjoy the present. We want to continue like this, the team spirit is incredible, we will know that we will have difficulties, we have not had an easy victory so far. We can improve a lot, from character point of view this team has made an important growth.”

On Leao: “I was surprised that no one expected Leao, we always played with a winger on the right and a striker on the left. I trusted him him after the last game.

“It’s our way of playing. Risks, but there would have been more if Inter had approached our area. It’s our way of trying to play the game and not suffer. We think we have many advantageous situations and we try to exploit them.”

On the Scudetto: “I like to think positively, but in my opinion there are 3/4 teams that have invested more than us. We have invested but in the long term.

“We have to be ambitious. The championship will be very difficult, we are seven top-level teams , in the end four will be happy, we hope to be among those four.

“To fight for the Scudetto you have to raise the level of quality of the players, we are doing it but a single year cannot be enough. The club has been good, it has put in some champions together with some prospective kids.”

On the defenders: “I would underline the performance of the central defenders, we often accepted the two against two, Kjaer was able to manage the situation after being booked after 21 minutes and Romagnoli had an excellent match on his return.”

On the merits in the relationship with Ibra: “I do not give myself so much credit in the relationship with Ibra, he is an exemplary professional, he is a competitive player, he is available.

“On the first day he told me: ‘You are a coach, I am the player and I respect everything’. There will be times when we will not get along, but it applies to everyone. A very challenging period begins, now we have to think about Celtic, we must try to continue doing well, then there will be Roma.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli